I have five nephews and five nieces. Only four of them live in Chicago. The two oldest—in their 2os—and two boys, ten and 8. Ever since I returned to Chicago from Puerto Rico (about eight months now) I’ve been heartbroken at the fact that Michael, the 10 year old, no longer wants me to kiss or hug him. He has deemed himself too “cool.”
Because I understand his pre-teen need to be cool, I try to resist torturing him with hugs and kisses in public, though it’s a different story when we’re alone or with just family. But it doesn’t matter if I catch him and am able to plant a kiss, he immediately wipes it off and though I know it’s not personal, it stings a little. I have a 24 year old nephew and a 22 year old niece so I’ve been through this pre-teen to-teen-too-cool-for-my-aunt stage before and I should be used to it, but I probably never will.
Last night my brother arrived with his kids, two nephews and a niece, ages 11, 8, and 5 respectively. I ran to the car to greet them giving them all and my brother hugs first. Michael came out of the car, walked up to me, and with nine simple words tripled the joy I was feeling. He said, “Titi, you didn’t give me a hug. I’m jealous.” **insert Tia’s cheesy grin**